The Niskanen Center Internship Program is dedicated to preparing undergraduate and graduate students for careers in public policy, communications, and federal affairs.

We offer a collaborative, fast-paced environment on Capitol Hill, with opportunities to network and engage in intellectual discussions with our scholars, and we are continuing to build and formalize our program. We offer both remote and D.C. based internships.

On a given day, our interns could attend a meeting with Hill staff, pull data for a research paper, write a commentary, or prepare a communications plan for a new policy initiative.

Policy interns work with Niskanen Center scholars in researching and writing policy papers, website commentary, and op-eds. Candidates must be well-versed in their chosen policy area. Opportunities are available in climate, criminal justice, immigration, regulatory affairs, family economic security, housing, employment policy, industrial policy, and innovation policy.

Digital media interns will work closely with the communications team. Interns will assist in updating the website, tracking media hits, managing social media accounts, producing graphics, and editing videos, depending on experience. Strong research and writing skills are required, and a degree in English, Public Relations, Journalism, Communications, and/or Marketing is a plus.

Legal interns will work closely with the Niskanen Center litigation team. This internship opportunity is dedicated to preparing rising 2L and 3L law students for careers in non-profit and public interest litigation, primarily centered on property rights issues created by the abuse of eminent domain by oil and gas pipeline companies.  

All Niskanen Center interns receive up to a $1,000 monthly stipend.

How to Apply

Spring Semester 2023: January 9, 2023 to May 5, 2023 — Applications are due by November 4, 2022; we will be notifying applicants on a rolling basis with a final deadline of December 2, 2022 for all offers.

Summer Semester 2023: May 31, 2023 to August 11, 2023—Submit application by February 17, 2023; we will be notifying applicants on a rolling basis with a final deadline of March 10, 2023 for all offers.

Please note that semester start and end dates are firm, unless you seek prior approval.

Application Submission

Send the following (and any questions) in one PDF and one email to

  • Resume
  • Identify no more than two policy department interests
  • One writing sample (do not exceed 3,000 words)
  • Explanation about why you are applying to Niskanen (do not exceed 300 words) 

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Equal Employment Opportunity

In order to provide equal employment and advancement opportunities for all individuals, employment decisions at the Niskanen Center are based on merit, qualifications, and abilities. Niskanen Center does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, disability, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, or any other characteristics protected by law. This policy governs all aspects of employment, including selection, job assignment, compensation, discipline, termination, and access to benefits and training. Applicants living abroad/​international applicants are encouraged to apply but will need to be authorized to work in the United States and must be able to work in the United States during the internship to participate.


Please note that if you are placed with us through the Peterson Foundation, you will not be eligible for the Niskanen Center’s monthly stipend, as you will be compensated directly through the Peterson Foundation.

This summer, we will be one of the organizations participating in the Peterson Foundation’s Fiscal Internship Program. The program engages students with fiscal policy by providing them with first-hand research experience. If you have a specific interest in fiscal policy, you may choose to apply to this program and may have the option to be placed at the Niskanen Center.

Niskanen Intern Accomplishments

Among other projects, Niskanen interns have accomplished the following:

  • Spearheaded a research project to inform coalition-building efforts for the climate department
  • Co-wrote and published a policy brief with senior staff in immigration
  • Wrote blog posts cited in the Washington Post and in the Washington Examiner
  • Built and managed the Niskanen Center’s Instagram account
  • Developed and managed content calendars for Niskanen Center communications efforts

Where Are They Now?

Here’s a look at how past interns are using the experience they’ve gained at Niskanen in their studies and careers:

  • One is enrolled in a Master’s of Public Policy program at UC Irvine.
  • One is Fulbright scholar.
  • One is a regulatory and government affairs lead at Analytical Space.
  • One is an editorial associate at SmithBucklin.
  • One is an immigration policy fellow at the Niskanen Center.
  • One is a welfare policy analyst at the Niskanen Center.

Our interns are now also at MSNBC, Booz Allen Hamilton, McKinsey, Foreign Policy, the Daily Caller, the Cato Institute, the Department of Defense, Americans for Prosperity, the Center for Law and Social Policy, the Charter Cities Institute and others. Other former interns are in law school and some are pursuing graduate degrees in public policy, public administration, and economics.